E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Hygrophorus agathosmus
gray almond waxy-cap

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #18881)

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Distribution of Hygrophorus agathosmus
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Species Information

Features include a grayish or brownish gray, viscid cap; waxy, white to grayish gills; a dry, white to gray-tinged stem, an almond odor, and an association with conifers. At least some of the collections we have been identifying as this species match DNA with Hygrophorus odoratus rather than H. agathosmus; H. agathosmus does appear to occur in BC but it may be a circumpolar species, (D. Miller, pers. comm.) Whichever name is correct, it is fairly common in the Pacific Northwest.

Hesler(1) examined collections from WA, OR, ID, CA, CO, MD, MI, NJ, WY, Bavaria, Belgium, Netherlands, and Denmark. It has been found in Africa, Asia, and Europe including Switzerland (Breitenbach(3)). There are collections from BC at the University of British Columba and Pacific Forestry Center.
3-10cm across, convex with incurved margin, to flat or with margin uplifted; dull gray to ashy gray, brownish gray, or at times grayish olive; "smooth, viscid when moist", (Arora), (3)4-8(11)cm across, convex to obtuse with inrolled margin, becoming flat or with disc slightly depressed when old, sometimes remaining slightly umbonate; evenly "light drab" or a dull ashy gray, not fading much but sometimes with watery zones or spots near margin; glutinous to viscid, bald, margin very faintly tomentose, (Hesler)
soft; whitish, (Arora), soft; whitish or watery gray, (Hesler)
"adnate to slightly decurrent, close or well-spaced, soft, waxy"; white or sometimes grayish when old, (Arora), adnate, becoming adnate-decurrent, close to distant (40-50 reaching stem), moderately narrow, rather thin; white becoming sordid grayish when old, (Hesler)
4-10(16)cm x 0.5-1.5(2)cm, equal or narrowing downward; white or tinged gray; smooth, not viscid, (Arora), 4-8(16)cm x 0.6-1.4(2.5)cm, equal or narrowing toward base, solid; whitish at first, pale ashy when old; "dry or moist but no gelatinous universal veil present, evenly fibrillose pruinose over all at first", becoming bald, (Hesler)
absent (Arora)
"sweet, like almond extract (but sometimes faint)", (Arora), fragrant and very pronounced, of bitter almonds, occasionally the odor weak, or also described as like celery or anise, (Hesler)
mild (Hesler)
Microscopic spores:
spores 7-10.5 x 4.5-5.5 microns, elliptic, smooth, (Arora), spores (7)8-10.5 x 4.5-5.5 microns, elliptic, smooth, inamyloid; basidia 4-spored, 48-65 x 6-8 microns; pleurocystidia and cheilocystidia none; gill tissue divergent; clamp connections of hyphae of gill trama, not cap cuticle or cap trama, (Hesler)
Spore deposit:
white (Arora)

Habitat / Range

scattered to gregarious under conifers; partial to spruce but associated locally with Douglas-fir, (Arora), scattered under Picea (spruce) and Pinus (pine) and in mixed woods, especially in pastures around scattered spruce, (Hesler), summer to fall (Buczacki)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Hygrophorus cerasinus (Berk.) Fr.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Genetic information (NCBI Taxonomy Database)
Taxonomic Information from the World Flora Online
Index Fungorium
Taxonomic reference: Epicr. Syst. Myc. p.325. 1838; Hygrophorus cerasinus (Berk.) Fr.

Additional Range and Status Information Links


edible, bland, does not taste the way it smells, (Arora)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Hesler(1)* (colors in quotation marks from Ridgway(1)), Arora(1)*, Trudell(4)*, Lincoff(2)*, Lincoff(1)*, Ammirati(1)*, Courtecuisse(1)*, Bessette(2)*, Barron(1)*, Stuntz(4), Breitenbach(3)*, Largent(4), Miller(14)*, Buczacki(1)*, Desjardin(6)*, Siegel(2)*, Bessette(7)*

References for the fungi

General References